Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Plan - Just DO it!

Learn more about the Most Impressive People of the Year.
Gabrielle Douglas (16 yo)
2012 Summer Olympics in London
he first African-American woman to win Olympic gold medals
in both the individual and team all-around gymnastics competitions

Dear Daughter
(with children - Shortie, Baby Girl and Repeat)
Baltimore Women's Classic June 2012

Martial_arts_woman : Tanned fit sporty female jumps in air and kicks (motion blur)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Thank you from a Kiva Borrower

In July 2012 I told you about Kiva (, which is a non-profit that allows you to lend as little as $25 to a specific low-income entrepreneur anywhere in the world! (See Wiser on Wednesday post July 11, 2012)
I contributed $25 and have already received several repayments. Kiva a powerful and sustainable way to empower someone right now to lift themselves out of poverty.   Please consider Kiva. Check it out! and then pass it on!

This is Luisa She used her Kiva Loan to buy materials for her sewing business, boosting her income and helping her better support her family. She'd like to thank you herself.

Give a Kiva Card this year -

Friday, December 28, 2012

Two Poems by Mari Evans

Marrow of My BonesMari Evans

Fondle me
and cradle
with your lips
the nectar from
teach me there

If there be sorrowMari Evans

If there be sorrow
let it be
for things undone
to these add one
love withheld

Mari Evans

Thursday, December 27, 2012


"Above all, love each other deeply..." ~1 Peter 4:8

Be the first to say "I'm sorry." Love extravagantly. Smile. Hug. Hold hands. Write a love note. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wiser on Wednesday - Inspiration

...from the inside inspiration springs. Motivation is largely external, sticks and carrots--but inspiration is born within us, from the wellspring of creativity that is LIFE itself. Christ within us is such an event. an age that is defined by incentives and motivation, sticks and carrots abound, but inspiration is the true hope, the way we become the solution, the answer to our prayers.

This is a meaning of Christ, of Christmas: God seeks to transform us into the answers to our own prayers. This is the meaning of a baby savior. ... Toby D. Sanders

Quotes from a man named Maria Ranier Wilke

"For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation. " ~Maria Ranier Wilke

"Every perfect life is a parable invented by God".~Maria Ranier Wilke 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Work of Christmas - Howard Thurman

When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with the flocks,
then the work of Christmas begins:

-to find the lost,
-to heal those broken in spirit,
-to feed the hungry,
-to release the oppressed,
-to rebuild the nations,
-to bring peace among all peoples,
-to make a little music with the heart…

And to radiate the Light of Christ,
every day, in every way, in all that we do and in all that we say.
Then the work of Christmas begins.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Some Favorite Photos of President Obama

Little Boy Feels President Obama's Hair
The first four years

After a weak first attempt, President Obama kisses the First Lady for the Kiss Cam at a U.S. Men's Olympic basketball game against Brazil.
President Barack Obama kisses First Lady Michelle Obama for the "Kiss Cam"
while attending the U.S. Men's Olympic basketball team's game
against Brazil at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., July 16, 2012.
Vice President Joe Biden and Malia Obama look up at the jumbotron.
 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Obama and his daughters kick back at the White House to watch Michelle Obama's convention speech.
President Barack Obama and his daughters, Malia, left, and Sasha, Treaty Room - White House, Tuesday night, Sept. 4, as First Lady Michelle Obama takes the stage
to deliver her speech at the Democratic National Convention
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Four more years
"Four More Years"
November 2012 - Social Media History
3.2 million "likes" and counting 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Update December 2012

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I am writing to first thank you all:
  • for keeping me in your prayers, 
  • for keeping your eyes open for employment opportunities, 
  • for listening to me cry and wail and loving me through it,
  • for the care - physical,spiritual, tangible, concrete, mystical
  • for bearing the gifts of the Holy Spirit
  • for your enduring faith in me - especially when I had none for myself
  • for your love

I am also writing to let you know that I was offered a job! It all JUST happened on Monday December 17, 2012!!!

The job is with [....] a private social service agency in [...] PA [...] I start January 22, 2013. I will be supervising four people -- a mental health worker, a case manager, and two [...] trainers. The program that I will be supervising is entitled LINKS, which is a reunification program for parents with children in the foster care system and also have co-occurring disorders --mental health and drugs/alcohol addiction.  The parents have 15 months from when the case opens (the case opens with the [...] Children and Youth (C&Y)agency - if C&Y have the case for four months, then we only have 11 months!) 15 months ! to either be reunified with their children or relinquish them legally to family or for adoption.  The timeline, the mental health, and the drugs make the task challenging as well as the fact that the staff  reportedly do not understand C&Y's mandate, do not accept/understand that despite working with the parents, the best interest of the children remains the primary focus, and do not keep/know what constitutes good records. Due to the difficulty of the cases, the program manages only 15 cases at a time.  

So yes, this is bittersweet...I am happy 
  • To be employed, 
  • That someone so clearly recognized my talent that she offered me the job before I left the interview!
  • For the opportunity to grow in my field, stretch my skills, 
  • To be soon supporting myself (and all my hobbies - smile)
  • To look for my own place - to decide what I want and what I do not
  • To be nearer my friends

and yet....I will miss
  • The three sets of tiny feet I hear every morning,
  • Watching my daughter being a better woman than I ever hoped she'd become;
  • Wanting to cover up my son-in-law when he falls asleep in the chair (but daring not to for fear of waking him)
  • My new  friends; 
  • My new church and my amazing new pastor
  • My quilting group

My arm continues to improve - I have almost all my range of motion (YAY!!) but the improvement in strength is lagging. (could it possibly be due to the fact that I fell off the exercise wagon for a few weeks??)

I have transportation (YAY!) it is reliable (so far) and was an amazingly good find. 

Thank you is not enough, but it must do for now. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Best R & B Classic Christmas Songs*

1. Boys 2 Men - Let it snow
2. Temptations - Silent Night
3. Chris Brown - This Christmas
4. Jackson 5 - Give Love On Christmas Day
5. Jackson 5 - Have Yourself A merry Little Christmas
6. Mariah Carey - All I want for Christmas Is You
7. Luther Vandross - Every Year, Every Christmas
8. Luther Vandross - Please Come Home For Christmas
9. The Whispers - Christmas Medley
10. The O'Jays - Christmas Just Ain't Christmas
11. Teddy Pendergrass - Joy To The World
12. Whitney Houston - Joy to The World
13. The Jackson 5 - Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
14. Babyface - White Christmas
15. Silk Merry Christmas - 
16. Dionne WarwickGladys Knight - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
17. Stevie Wonder - Little Drummer Boy
18. Al Green - I'll Be Home For Christmas
19. Envogue - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
20. The Whispers - Happy Holidays To You
21. Babyface -The Christmas Song
22. Destiny's Child - 8 Days of Christmas
23. Keyshia Cole - Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas
24. SWV - The Christmas Song (Chestnuts roasting on a open fire)
25. Jamie FoxxChristmas List
26. R Kelly - Merry Christmas
27. Beyonce - Silent Night
28. Stevie Wonder - Someday at Christmas
29. Alicia Keys - O Holy Night
30. Donnie Hathoway - This Christmas
* - accessed 12-19-2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Letter Concerning Toleration - John Locke

...I esteem it above all things necessary to distinguish exactly the business of civil government from that of religion and to settle the just bounds that lie between the one and the other. If this be not done, there can be no end put to the controversies that will be always arising between those that have, or at least pretend to have, on the one side, a concernment for the interest of men's souls, and, on the other side, a care of the commonwealth. . ..John Locke - A Letter Concerning Toleration*, 1689

*   A Letter Concerning Toleration

Religious tolerance and the domains of religious vs. civil institutions.

...I esteem that toleration to be the chief characteristic mark of the true Church. For whatsoever some people boast of the antiquity of places and names, or of the pomp of their outward worship; others, of the reformation of their discipline; all, of the orthodoxy of their faith — for everyone is orthodox to himself — these things, and all others of this nature, are much rather marks of men striving for power and empire over one another than of the Church of Christ. Let anyone have never so true a claim to all these things, yet if he be destitute of charity, meekness, and good-will in general towards all mankind, even to those that are not Christians, he is certainly yet short of being a true Christian himself.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Day Lily



Forgot to take the picture this year (2012)! ARGH!!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

End of the line

As I reflect on days here in the MD - DC area, I actually remember how crazy it was trying to get accustom to the public transportation system know as "The Metro". I saved this photo back in April 4, 2010. At that time, I was looking for a photo to go with a "not-so-funny-at-the-time-but-funny-now" experience I had.
Not  quite used to the Metro, and the long ride from Southwest DC to the end of the line Glenmont, MD. I must of fallen asleep. The conductors of the train announce each stop and tell you what side of the train the doors will be opening. I had fallen asleep to a male voice announcing "Wheaton. Doors open right side".
Not realizing that I had fallen asleep I was confused, when I heard a female voice saying Forest Glen.Doors open right side". It took me until I heard her say "Wheaton. Doors open right side" to realize that I had slept through the last stop (Glenmont) and was on my way back downtown!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Forgiveness and Time - A draft

A draft to defeat the spirit of procrastination...

 "As tyme hem hurt, a tyme doth hem cure" from Troilus and Cresyde, Chaucer

 Forgiveness and Time

The fifth, or quintessential element of forgiveness is time. The relationship between forgiveness and time is the most crucial relationship in our efforts to come to terms with the concept of forgiveness. It is time that is often our greatest enemy and time that can be our greatest friend. People believe falsely, and carelessly that “time heals all wounds”...but those of us who have hurt and been hurt know as a matter of fact, a matter of breath, a matter of pain that time heals nothing. Time in a very basic sense is just a measure and one may measure suffering as easily as one may measure pleasure. Time is neutral. Our suffering is not.

The philosopher Heidegger imagined that our conception of time was misshaped by our assumptions about its relationship to eternity. He argued that many of our misconceptions about time were rooted in our attempts to related our experience of it to the infinite expanse of eternity which we could never experience. He reckoned that we would benefit by more honestly having our thinking about time shaped by an honest encounter with the impress of death, of our finitude. As others have rightly noted, we are also limited on this valence. We know no more of death than we do of eternity.

I am a thoroughgoing  ironist. I think we err when we make death and eternity opposites. There are related in a way that is at once mystery and certainty to us. If life has any meaning at all death and eternity work together are intertwined, dance, even make love: make each other possible.
We measure our life in hurts and strivings. We all are hurt by and hurt others, often deeply. It seems the very processes of life: birth, growth, flourishing, and death involve forms of pain, blood, anguish and injury. How we come to be who we are is a blood-stained and tear-soaked and grief-formed reality. Without forgiveness and other forms or resilience and reconciliation there would be only death and pain, with pleasure as simply a narcotic, an addiction to get us through to the next assault.

 Forgiveness is fundamental to life as juxtapose to mere existence. Here is something of the central import of forgiveness.

 Here is something I have come to understand  beneath an almost unbearable grief-like weight: forgiveness and time are bound together inextricably. All who suffer know this, like we know we need air to breath. But I do believe it might help some to know that forgiveness involves encountering time on your own terms and in a way that will allow you to direct the healing power of grace, to us this gift, to thrive even in the most difficult hours, to experience joy, real joy in your lowest moments...
Forgiveness is a way of navigating time...

 We understand time as split in three parts: past, present and future. Deep forgiveness maps this structure as well. A part of the real prolegomena of forgiveness is the way we most often trenchantly misunderstand the things that hurt us. There is a mechanism within us whenever we are hurt that seeks to protect us from the assault that is severe injury. This assault causes us to lose time, to not feel, what we feel as painfully as we might. We are drugged by our body and our psyche at "the moment of impact, crisis or injury." The things that hurt us MOST (let's say disrespect and betrayal) are always tethered to a past experience. The present hurt, whatever it is is NEVER the total source of our anguish. The crisis it creates fractures our sense of self and makes the future unbearable in a way impossible. This is the very architecture of the "unforgivable." Time already is inherently, every moment of it, anxiety ridden by definition. We are imprisoned in a series of presenceS"  and the past is only as good as our imperfect memories and the future is inherently uncertain. The struggle to be human is to integrate this broken experience of time into a whole personality.
The work of being human, the art of living and loving is our response to this crisis of temporality. Forgiveness, after love, is the most important spiritual virtue in this battle to be whole. I have been thinking through and struggling for years, months, days, hours, interminable seconds to deal with my own brokenness and broken heartedness (or not deal with it--this is what makes this piece, this draft so hard to write. It is the heart of the matter.)  Here is what I think I have found. 

 When we find it difficult or almost impossible to forgive and when we are ready to seek to forgive we cannot begin with what we think is the most acute and searing center of our pain. This is almost always an illusion, a partial truth, an obscurant. The very thing that is hurting us most is simply the present iteration of a past hurt that we evaded, buried, found unbearable to express or sublimated. As painful as it is, and it may be horrific, as adults it is not the source of our difficulty in forgiving. This anguish has simply reminded us of a deeper unbearable anguish.

 The process of burying that hurt has created in us a tendency and proclivity to blame ourselves for being vulnerable in the "second" place and often makes us blame ourselves for things that are not at all wholly our fault, which ironically undermines our capacity to forgive at all. We cannot forgive ourselves and this freezes us in time. It actually destroys hope and traps us in a funky house of mirrors without clocks. Our only relational currency becomes resentments which we build up and exchange with the people we are trying to love most or work with most. And we collude with them to exchange these resentments as a form of narcotic that only partially releases some of the tension built up in our deep anguish and grief, at the same time as it builds up the pain it needs to survive, not us--but our hurt feeds on us.
Ultimately, the hurt of the past, which might have been a smaller or more manageable injury becomes a complex or series of complexes, one built on top of the other. And forgiveness in the present is impossible because the source of our pain is so deeply buried in the past--usually under someone who we loved so much we couldn't bear to be angry and honest with them and now our life is either a masquerade, or sham, or flat out lie because we turn every close loving relationship into the same type of inside out love-hate codependency we never dealt with before.
In order to deeply forgive we must 1. Forgive ourselves 2. Forgive the person (or group of people) who originally hurt us; 3. Forgive the person who re-injured, reawakened the old pain in us.
This involves dealing with time in a way we are usually unwilling or unable to do. It involves too much honesty. Often, important people are either dead or have buried their transgressions in the sea of "You should be over that!" Still deep forgiveness involves this kind of work.
How do we forgive when most often are cut off from any kind of apology or conversation even, most of the people who hurt us originally and the most are related to us and have a heavy investment in denial or the cheap grace of water under the bridge?

 I will not pretend to know the answers to this for everyone or even wholly myself or the people I love most. But i do know that some things will help.

 1. We must work to forgive ourselves. Which we can do by accepting the forgiveness of God as a given. In my tradition of Love, we have a prayer that asks of God, "Forgive us as we    forgive." I think we often hear this wrong. It is NOT forgive ME as "I" forgive. it is a request for help from God to help "US" forgive. We pray for those we have hurt and for those who have hurt us:forgiveness. When we pray I know we realize that we are not reminding God of anything and often God has already acted on our behalf most times, we are asking God to allow us to see the provision.

 2. The hardest work of forgiveness is dealing with the past hurt that often we dont recognize as the hurt. Often we need help and always courage to see the ways that malformed or malpracticed love hurts us in ways so deep it misshapes our capacity to love rightly even ourselves.

3. Forgiving the person we are closest to today whi has betrayed us or disrespected us becomes infinitely easier when we have learned to deal with the past and our own loss of hope and we can center on the truth of the presence offense in its proper context. We can recognize what is our crap and what may be their crap in the hurt we have infected with resentments and has exploded in anguish and resignation.

 Forgiveness is a gift but it requires following the instructions to get the full utilization out of it. At its core forgiveness is the real gift of time. Time restored, time enhanced, time saved, time preserved, time filled with promise or hope.

Toby Sanders December 1, 2012 - Facebook page

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Our Nature...Toby D. Sanders

I am a bit frustrated by some simple things that are much harder than they should be. I have come to strongly believe that often our nature works against us. I think this is what folk like Augustine meant by the "fall." I think that our basic selfishness and impulses toward survival, so important when we are young, even babies, or when we were more animalistic, (or when we are threatened and vulnerable, injured or broken, when our circumstances approximate the darkest moments of our past), becomes a real debilitation as we try and become better people, families, communities, societies. It is this battle within us that is the foundation of most of our difficulties--maybe all of them--when we consider that those who hurt us likely suffer from the same debilitations.

The hardest part is facing this about ourselves first, admitting the truth to ourselves about ourselves. This is difficult work, this examined life is excruciating and rewarding: certa
inly the least done. 

Our nature, if there is such a thing, is surely shaped by our personal experience and more, the patterns or tendencies built by a billion choices most of which we did not make but have been bequeathed to us as a inheritance in our blood.

This is why it does no good to blame at all and why it is, at the same time, absolutely vital and life-giving to take responsibility for the small choices we make that build the larger choices: the art that is our lives. Our destiny, which is not fixed by our inheritance, by our mistakes, but is open, that is, designed by our hope. We are what we hope! And when we lose hope we are doomed to the trajectory of our nature, we are bound by the inertia of our past and only death awaits us. But when we hope, believe and act in alignment with these hopes we are born, again. The "again" signifies the great irony of hope that it only exists as a response to the power of death, which is only fear. The "again" signifies resilience, resurrection.

Hope requires untold amounts of courage. It is not an accident. It is our only salvation from the fall. It is the ability to fly. It is the only real freedom there is for a soul, a psyche. And as difficult as it is to believe, it IS a gift. It is already there in the darkness, it is born in us, somehow, at the very moment that it or death is the only choice. only there. It is LIFE! This too is our nature, somehow to both fall and to hope.

Toby Sanders - Facebook - December 1, 2012